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Happy New Year. Or not.

Lost in a gloom of uninspired research.

Two weeks into the New Year and it all looks like it’s going you-know-what up.

Those lovely people at the Office of National Statistics this week published some really quite depressing figures showing how much construction had lost in the last year and the CPA’s forecasts are, correspondingly looking less rosy than the Met Office’s Summer predictions.

And of course, it’s not just construction that’s still being hit. The retail sector has seen the loss of Comet and Jessops in the space of a month; HMV may survive if they get a deal done but it certainly won’t be as the same size or structure.

Industry estimates the number of jobs that will have been lost through the failure of these three firms alone as 12,000. That’s a lot of jobs and a lot of households which will have reduced income.

And no-one who’s just lost their job is going to be spending out on extensions, building work, decorating, repair or maintenance. Still less, a project to upgrade their energy efficiency, even if it does mean they aren’t paying for it upfront.

Ah yes, the Green Deal. It launches in a fortnight. Officially launched to the public that is, who will be able to take their Green Deal Assessments to their chosen Green Deal Provider to arrange their Green Deal Finance and have the work done via their chosen Green Deal Approved Installer. Then all they have to do is pay back the loan via the energy bills of whichever energy company Go Compare has sent them to. Simples.

Yeah, right. Simples.

I tried to find out through DECC today just who the Green Deal Providers were and whether there was a list of Green Deal Approved Installers. After all, I’m planning a big renovation project this year which will involve the installation of lots of lovely energy-efficient products. Why not, I thought, see if I can score me some of the Government’s cashback deal cash?

Man, is it complicated. Of course there isn’t anything as simple as one complete list of Green Deal Approved Installers, available in one place. No, you search Google and find a hundred websites all claiming to have the definitive list of who can install what and where. Although, as some of them have nothing more than a page that says ‘List your Green Deal Approved Company Name here’, I’m assuming this is still very much a work in progress.

And now, it seems that there are scammers out there who are door-stepping householders threatening them with increased council tax unless they have their insulation checked and remedied under the “Green Deal”. Fraudsters using a Government initiative for their own nefarious purposes? Who would have thought it? Well, me actually – in this very blog.

Apparently, top PR firm Freud Communications has been tasked with bringing the Green Deal message to the masses. Good luck with that!

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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